Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional - Thursday, February 14, 2019

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.'” — Matthew 25:45

Running Together

In the sport of professional triathlon, the British brother duo of Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee has made headlines for years. Both have enjoyed tremendous success on the pro level, individually winning world championships, representing Great Britain at the Olympics and, for Alistair, taking home two Olympic gold medals. But perhaps what the world, and I, remember best about this pair of brothers is an act of selfless sacrifice on the part of one of them a couple of years back.

Both were racing in the final triathlon of the season, and Jonathan was leading the race comfortably with only the final kilometer left to go in the 10km run. Alistair was running in third. But soon, Jonny began to feel the affects of the heat and started weaving across the course. He stopped at the side of the road, passed by as the second-place runner went on his way to claim the title. Soon after, along came Alistair, who noticed his brother on the side of the road. Immediately jogging over to Jonny, Alistair, who also could’ve gone on by and claimed second, instead put his arm around his bother and began to all but carry him the final few hundred meters and then pushed him across the line so he could finish first. 

To me, this was the prime example of what Ecclesiastes talks about when it says, “Two are better than one … for if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).”

God call us, as believers who are running in a race together toward eternity, to look out for the interests and needs of others along the way. This life isn’t about who is getting there first, who is holier than whom, how many good deeds outweigh your life over someone else’s. It’s about how many people you serve and give of yourself to along the way. God’s not interested in us someday standing before him and showing him all the ways in which we earned approval points for Heaven in our time on this earth. What He’s interested in is who you stopped to help, who you sacrificed for in the name of Jesus. What He’s most concerned with is simply, did you love well? 

In Matthew 25:21-46, Jesus talks about the final judgement and how He will separate His followers from the unbelievers in the last day, and what He says will make the difference in the end is how His followers were His hands and feet to a hurting world. He even goes on to say that the water they offered in His name, the food they gave to the hungry, the strangers they welcomed and took care of, the sick they ministered to, the prisoners they visited, were all acts of love that the believers didn’t even know they were doing directly to Him because they were simply trying to care for those who needed hope and love.

These people, He says, are the blessed ones who inherit the Kingdom because, as they did all these things to those in need, they did it as unto the Lord.

There will be people God places in your life today who may be struggling on the side of the race course, about to quit because they are just that beat and tired. You have a choice, just like those who saw the Samaritan that was robbed (Luke 10: 25-37), as to whether you’ll pass by and leave them there to suffer or if you will take the time to go help them find the courage and the faith to keep going. It most likely will cost you time that you could be using to get ahead, but how much more worth it will it be to know that you have the blessing of God upon your act of compassion rather than the adulation of the world?

Jesus hasn’t walked this earth in human form for more than 2,000 years. But following His ascension, He commissioned His followers to be His hands and feet until such time as He comes back. You and I have the chance to do that for however long our lives may be. Today is all we’ve got. So let’s be on the lookout for who God sends our way! 

— Katherine Singer, Director of Community Relations for Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks baseball

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